Four Entrepreneurial Principles to Master Your Health
by Live Better
There are unlimited parallels to be drawn between health and business, but entrepreneurship specifically provides a unique forum. Why? Because you are in charge…of everything.
There is no one (at least at the beginning) to do the work for you. You may seek help elsewhere, but ultimately you cannot outsource hard physical and mental work. You are the only person that knows deep down where you want this thing to go; the wheels come off if you lose focus and discipline. The responsibility is yours.
Health and entrepreneurship take a commitment; (total) failure is not an option, otherwise we face “death.” The stakes are high, but so are the rewards. An investment in good health (and business) pays dividends. Waiting until it’s too late…not something you want to find out.
Ultimately, there are no guarantees (that’s why we have insurance!). We must do the best job we can, seek to make the best decision in the moment, and apply a consistency of effort. "Insurance" in health is simply applying preventative care in case you need it later (warning: you will).
The following four principles are non-negotiable when mastering your health:
Wherever you think you’re going isn’t where you’ll end up. At the very least, the path you take to get there won’t be as you imagined it. Mike Tyson once famously said, “Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the mouth.”
Guess what? Life is going to punch you in the mouth. Clients often ask, “what about rest days? When do I take those?” I respond, “when you’ve earned them.”
You can plan to take a rest day when you’ve worked hard enough and consistent enough to deserve one. Life will force you to take days off; you’ll get sick, injured, forget it’s your turn to pick up the kids, have a work meeting shift to tomorrow morning instead of tomorrow night…something.
That being said, we must have a structure for how we approach our meso- and macro-goals. This is a framework in which a training (or business plan) fits. Not all days are at 100% intensity; in fact, few are, but they don't come without effort.
We also must have default decisions for when things go haywire. For example, you missed getting into your workout class by 5 minutes due to traffic.
Do you skip working out for the evening? The answer should be no. Certainly, you could just workout in your home using an app. You could go for a walk or run outside. Squat with your kid in your arms. Do planks with them sitting on your shoulders. Have a go-to workout option you love. The same goes for food, food delivery, grocery store runs, etc. Pre-research all available quick-option food before your next business trip. When everyone else opts for terrible airport food, you’re already covered.
How quickly you’re able to adapt will determine how fast you get back on track; something every great founder and every person successful in managing their health knows. Consistency trumps intensity, but the intensity at which you can change course saves precious time (and, momentum).
Keep it simple, stupid. This seems obvious, but we’ve gone so far off the deep end with gimmicks, hacks, shortcuts, and BS information it’s hard to know where True North actually points.
This goes without saying, but I’m going to say it anyway: MASTER THE BASICS, FIRST. If you’re building a business, your key offering should be your point of focus. Unless you’re a marketing firm, focus on why, how, and what you do before you start shouting from the rooftops.
You have to earn the right to ask complicated questions. Then, consider whether those questions need to be complicated in the first place!
The building blocks of physical health include exercise, nutrition, sleep, and stress management. Before you start an intense marathon training program, maybe make sure you can walk properly first? Before you ask if you should go Keto, have you eaten a vegetable today?
Stop complaining that you’re tired when instead of going to sleep you scrolled your IG page for three hours. Stop asking if you can eat this or that because you’ve walked 10,000 steps today.
Pull the 80/20 lever; what small changes can you make to produce exponentially large value-adds? Things like solving a dehydration problem can have huge benefits to the body and brain. Adequate stress management, even if it’s just a quick break from your desk every hour, can prolong careers over the long haul.
There comes a time when you’ll need to buckle down. I’ve already said it - nothing goes according to plan, and there are no guarantees.
In business, clients might not ever pay you. Economies swing up and down, causing widespread panic, job loss, and destruction of industry. Version one of your product might fail.
In health, people get injured all the time. More gravely, people get cancer, disease, lose friends and family, you name it.
This is why we build the strongest foundation we can, both mentally and physically. We do not train for times of success, we train for times of distress.
When everything is going wrong is when you need to rely on your discipline. Your mindset (remember the “best day ever” mindset?) controls your reaction to everything. Bad news? Good, an opportunity for growth (see more below). We’ll get better.
When life punches you in the mouth are you going to quit, cry, and run home? No, you’re going to go to your strengths, adapt, keep it simple, and move on. Do the next good thing you can and build some momentum. You might fail 1,000 times; success is coming on try 1,001. It’s the only way you can think, because the second you stop being positive is the second you start dying (whether in life or in business).
In this section, we start tapping into a primal emotion - fear. People fear most what they do not know, what they feel judged for, failure, and so on.
Our body responds to what our mind tells it to do. Getting over one challenge, then, gives our mind the confidence to do it again. And again. And, again…until we simply manage our fear and play offense instead of defense.
I believe Grit is one of the single most important human characteristics in finding long-term success. It ensure we don’t have to get lucky - we can work for what we want, even if it’s extremely difficult.
Our mantra is “have the best day ever, every single day.” People laugh, and then realize how contagious it is to apply this saying to their everyday life, both in health and in business.
First, there is a placebo effect to telling yourself you’re okay (even if you know you’re not, which can also sometimes be an extremely important step in self-awareness). Even this small dose of positive energy can lead you to take the next step, especially necessary if that next step is to simply ask for help.
Second, having a growth mindset isn’t being irrationally positive; it’s simply taking the stance that being better in the next moment than you were in the current moment is under your control. It’s having the outlook that you can always get better, learn, and move the needle, especially during hard times.
Growth implies that you move from one level to the next. It isn’t linear, either. People think sales in business will always be straight line positive, when in fact it will look more like a roller coaster than you’d care to admit. Same goes for health; it isn’t Super Bowl Sunday every week. We don’t have to train at 100% intensity to achieve growth.
Running is the perfect example. Elite level runners have achieved this ability by making small, tiny increments in fitness that add up like crazy on race day. We can all make these little deposits of health, whether that’s to our bodies or to our business.
Some days are better than others, but all days give us an opportunity to grow, whether that’s in success or in failure. The goal is never to fail, but if you do get back up, apply some grit, take a simple approach, and adapt.
All four of these principles, especially in the aggregate, can help you think about health and business in the same way.
Entrepreneurship teaches us responsibility - you are the entrepreneur of your own health. Your choices, your life.
Have the best day ever, every single day. That's my choice.